Thursday, 5 July 2012
Theatre review: Spring Awakening
There's some rather good performances throughout, and Palmstrom is kind of adorable, but the production does settle after a while into a lugubrious pace with little variation. This did mean I got distracted at times by things like the slightly sloppy sound design, and Gina Rose Lee's anachronistic costume designs (I think it was meant to have been relocated to the 1960s but I couldn't swear to it.) It seems the musical did stick very closely to the original storyline, as much of what happens is familiar - there are a few small differences but as director John Fricker is also credited with an adaptation of Francis J. Ziegler's translation, I don't know how many of these are Wedekind's and how many specific to this staging: Melchior raping Wendla for example; apart from affecting how we see Melchior, it also rather lets Frau Bergmann off the hook if Wendla didn't consent to the sex, not knowing the consequences doesn't make much difference one way or the other. Overall, much as I was trying not to see this as the musical without the songs, this generally competent production lacked the spark of invention to give it an identity of its own.
Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, in a translation by Francis J. Ziegler adapted by John Fricker, is booking until the 14th of July at Brockley Jack Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.